Aha’s from Fall Conferences

Information overload? Close. Between TEAMS, Oklahoma’s Governor’s Conference on Tourism, USTA’s Marketing Outlook Forum and a couple other seminars, I’ve heard a LOT this fall. Some was repeat. Some was dated. And some simply inspirational. There were some helpful gems though! Some real nuggets of ‘A-ha’! I’ve weeded out the trite and trivial and share with you the biggest A-ha’s of this fall’s conferences in this month’s Five @ 5.

America is very different… A lot of dissection of the 2010 census. The key number to know – 1 in 3 Americans is not white. No more “Joe Consumer”. In fact it’s more like “Jose Consumer”. 1 in 4 children are Latino and every 30 seconds a Latino turns 18. And it’s an aging population… median age is 41 and over 40 million consumers are over 65.

Take away 1… need to start printing your materials in Spanish and large print.

Take away 2… 50% of the population is over 50. Thus, 50% is under 50. Again, 1 in 3 is not white. Your generic ads may only be attracting half of the audience or turning off 66%. Now, if you know your target demo and you have a limited budget, keep targeting that demo and earn market share. Don’t try to advertise to all on a limited budget.

The Complex Consumer… Consumer confidence is down. Household income is down. But spending is at an all time high. The number of leisure trips per year are up over last year – 3.9 vs. 3.7. And the length of the trips are up – 8.3 days vs. 7.9. But affluent is out and value is now. The consumer is a deal seeker. I.e. dining – “fast casual” is hot. Think Panera. With 92% it is more about cutting back than cutting out.

Take away 3… Even the “experts” don’t know what to make of today’s consumer but now is the time to Be Relevant. Be Knowledgeable. Now is the time to do more research than ever before to really know your target demo. And Be Fearless. Go ahead and try it!

Going Mobile… Or should I say Gone Mobile. In 2011 we’ve purchase more smart phones than computers.

Take away 4… That website of yours better be able to be read by the Iphone, Android and Blackberry. If Jose Consumer is dialing into VisitDestination.com and your .com is not ‘mobilized’. Game over.

Social Media… I picked up on a stat last year – only 6% have been influenced to travel through social media. Well this year that number is up to 9%!

Take away 5… You’ve got to be doing the social media thing but it’s not the only thing! 91% of those on Facebook and Twitter aren’t gonna come cause you tweeted something cute.

QR Codes… We’re doing it all wrong. QR codes are not about simply sending them to your website. (And I’m just as guilty as everyone else.) If it’s just about sending Jose Consumer to the website, print your URL and don’t ugly up your ad with that black and white freaky thing.

Take away 6… One way to think about QR Codes is that the benefit of scanning it should be to experience something no one else is. A unique video. A discount. Or scan to win. The other way to think about them is to solve problems. Think where the consumer is in the buying cycle when they see your QR Code. When they scan yours, it should move them one step closer to the buying cycle!

Take away 7… QR Codes have to stay black. You can’t change their color to make your ad pretty. I tried two that were brown to match the ad background and they never scanned.

Have an A-ha from your fall conference? Feel free to share. Thanks for reading.

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